Level-Ups: Motorized Stilts that Simulate Stair Steps in Virtual Reality


We present "Level-Ups", computer-controlled stilts that allow virtual reality users to experience walking up and down steps. Each Level-Up unit is a self-contained device worn like a boot. Its main functional element is a vertical actuation mechanism mounted to the bottom of the boot that extends vertically. Unlike traditional solutions that are integrated with locomotion devices, Level-Ups allow users to walk around freely ("real-walking"). We present Level-Ups in a demo environment based on a head-mounted display, optical motion capture, and integrated with two different game engines. In a user study, participants rated the realism of stepping onto objects 6.0 out of 7.0 when wearing Level-Ups compared to 3.5 without.

Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems